Tag Archives: adjusting

Highs and Lows

road in the English countryside

We’ve been here a week now and it’s been more than a rollercoaster ride.  Ups and downs sandwiched in between highs and lows, smiles and tears, joy and frustration. 

Moving is hard.

We’ve already overcome obstacles both minor and major, and we’re learning to cope with a life that is both familiar and foreign all at once.  And today, we finally move out of the hotel and into our house.  We still won’t have furniture, though, for probably another week.  Another frustration to handle, hopefully with some grace and fewer gritted teeth and mumbled curses than I’ve employed in the past week.

I’ve got lots to share: our flight and how we handled luggage and the airport, our arrival in Heathrow — including a minor incident where we lost Quinn and Owen for a few minutes, our first few days in London, making our way out to the countryside and driving on the right/wrong side of the road, living in a hotel for over a week with four children and 20+ bags, our new house, the kids’ new school, buying cars, and the many differences I’m noticing between life in the US and life in the UK.

I never expected the early part of this transition to be easy, and I wasn’t surprised when it was hard.  Those moments of frustration, though, are often accompanied by a severe case of tunnel vision where I’m sure that things are ruined and will never be okay again.  (Oh, the drama.  I’m the Queen of it.)  Then we come out the other side and see that we worked through another difficulty, together, and that we’ll continue to do so as we adjust.  I’m working on remembering that in the moment, and not just in hindsight.

This week has been nothing short of phenomenal — exciting and fun and challenging and enlightening, maddening and disappointing and exhausting.  Matt and I keep catching each others’ eyes and grinning, realizing that we’re finally doing it, we’re making it happen, we’re living the adventure we talked about for so long. 

It’s amazing, every insane moment of it.

Back in the Swing

pool perspective

The first week of summer vacation always sucks.  And I always forget that it sucks until I’m in it.

I mean, it’s great — no real schedule, much more relaxed down time, no car pools or kiss-n-ride, no packing lunches.

But it also sucks, because readjusting to having everyone home together all day is a slow process. 

The kids are used to having seven or so hours away from each other, so when they’re together 24 hours a day for a few straight days, they get on each others’ nerves pretty quickly.  Games turn into battles with children arguing over whose turn it is, sports turn into fights with children accusing each other of foul play or unnecessary roughness, and my patience doesn’t last very long when I’m constantly mediating.  In fact, my patience is even shorter than normal as I struggle to get used to the constant low (or not-so-low) levels of noise.

They’re excited to play all day, they’re excited for free time, they’re excited by the possibility of daily play dates and pool time.  But they forget that they still have some responsibilities, and I am not about to follow them around like a maid, cooking for them every twenty minutes, catering to their every whim, and constantly cleaning up their messes. 

You want to do a painting project?  Great!  Have fun!  But when you’re done, the kitchen had better bear no trace of your project, save your lovely paintings drying neatly on the counter top.  

You’re hungry for the 578th time today?  Okay, have some fruit.  Oh, you don’t want fruit?  Then you’re not that hungry.

You want to go to the pool?  Great, me too!  Help me fold this basket of laundry and put the clothes away and we’ll be able to leave that much faster. 

You’re hungry for the 943,576th time today?  Go ahead and make yourself something to eat.  AND THEN CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF, THE MAID HAS THE DAY OFF.

Put your shoes in the shoe basket.  Put your shoes in the shoe basket.  PUT YOUR SHOES IN THE SHOE BASKET.

Hang up your wet bathing suits, do not leave them on the floor. Hang up your wet bathing suits, do not leave them on the floor. HOLY CRAP, HANG UP YOUR WET BATHING SUITS BEFORE I LOSE MY EVER-LOVING MIND.

I always forget how we struggle the first few days until we’re already in it. 

This year is no different, with yelling and crying and arguing and apologizing and bargaining and do-overs.  (And the children are having trouble too.  Ba-dum-ching!

I’ve identified the problem though, so now it’s up to me to find a solution: 

I need to set clear expectations, communicate those expectations, and then stick to them. 

I need to set the tone and have a little patience and a little grace for the people around me. 

I need to think about what our days should look like and then make it so.  We need a little fun time, a little pool time, a little quiet time, a little reading time, a little clean-up time. 

We’ll get there and settle into a reasonable rhythm and enjoy these longer, slower days.  I just have to remember that these things don’t happen instantaneously, they take some time.  

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